The Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) is the central workers’ organization in Greece. Founded in 1918, it is essentially the foremost representative workers’ organization in Greece.
GSEE embodies the unity of the trade union movement in Greece since all the different ideological trade union currents are represented through respective trade union groups in the Confederation. GSEE’s confederal bodies are the national Congress, the General Council, the Administrative Board, the Executive Committee, the Presidium, the Audit Committee and the organizational or thematic Secretariats.
The Confederation represents at national level vis-à-vis the government and the employers the bulk of workers in the private sector of the economy and in the broader public sector (Public Utility Corporations etc.) through its affiliated members from 68 branch Federations and 79 Regional Labour Centers nationwide. As the national social partner on behalf of the workers’ side, the GSEE engages in collective bargaining and negotiates the National General Collective Labour Agreement that sets the minimum standards of protection for all workers in the Greek territory. Following the establishment and development of bipartite and tripartite structures in Greece, the Confederation participates in a wide range of social policy institutions, dispute settlement bodies, committees etc., with decision-making and advisory powers on labour-related matters.
A unitary and autonomous trade union organization, the GSEE throughout its long history has been actively engaged in defending and promoting the economic and social interests of workers along with the principles of social justice, equality and solidarity. The respect of human life, dignity and rights, the effective defense of trade union freedom and workers’ rights, fair globalization and decent work with the protection of environment, the fight against poverty and all forms of discrimination, supporting and reinforcing institutions of social dialogue and democracy, fostering a culture of understanding against the ravages of violence, war, discrimination and intolerance are priority objectives in our work.
In the current age of intense restructuring relating mainly to deregulation and liberalization of the economy, along with the economic and external debt crisis and austerity policies, issues such as employment and unemployment, undeclared and underdeclared work, labour relations, wages, collective agreements, an equitable redistribution of income, vocational education and training, job security and social security and the right to collective action are, among others, the main concerns of the Greek trade Union Movement. Since the wake of the financial crisis, especially after 2009, GSEE has put all its forces in the fight against austerity measures and the role of the international financial institutions in international loan mechanisms with a view to restoring the enactment of seriously and repeatedly violated worker’s fundamental rights.
The GSEE is firmly committed to effective European and international cooperation and trade union solidarity across borders, throughout the world for social justice, equality, peace and democracy. At the European level, the GSEE is affiliated to the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) since 1976. At the international level, the GSEE historically has been affiliated to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) since its founding at 1950 with an interruption during the military dictatorship in Greece. Since its founding Congress in 2006, the GSEE is affiliated to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). GSEE is a member to the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the OECD and the EU Economic and Social Committee (EESC).
To address new challenges posed by social, economic and technological changes, GSEE has set up specialised structures that support widely its work including the Information Centre for the Workers and the Unemployed (KEPEA GSEE), the Labour Institute (INE GSEE), the Development Center for Educational Policy (KANEP GSEE), the Employed Consumers Union of Greece (EEKE) and the Archives of Trade Union History (AR.ISTO.S).